From Earl Croasmun@1:261/38 to Bob Klahn on Sun Mar 18 16:26:04 2035
While on the subject of Paul Krugman, some interesting comments from John C. Goodman at the Health Policy Blog:
"Since Barack Obama took office almost 10 million people have dropped out of the labor force. More than half a million dropped out in the last month alone. Today, a record 90 million people ¨ almost one third of the entire population ¨
are not working and not even looking for a job.
˘How did that happen?÷ Krugman asks. One answer is supplied by University of Chicago economist Casey Mulligan ¨ one of the top labor market economists in the country and a regular contributor to The New York Times economics blog. In a new book, Mulligan estimates that roughly half of the excess unemployment we have been experiencing is due to the lure of entitlement benefits ¨ food stamps, unemployment compensation, disability benefits, etc. In other words, we
are paying people not to work. In a separate analysis, Mulligan estimates that much of the remaining unemployment may be due to other Obama administration policies, especially the Affordable Care Act.
So what does Krugman have to say about MulliganĂs study? Nothing. Nothing? Not a thing. Not about CaseyĂs study or any other serious study. But he rejects MulliganĂs conclusion by claiming that the fall in labor force participation
'wasnĂt a mass outbreak of laziness, and right-wing claims that jobless Americans arenĂt trying hard enough to find work because theyĂre living high on
food stamps and unemployment benefits should be treated with the contempt they deserve.'
Hmmm. Last time I looked, economics is a science. Statements about the economic
system are either true or not true. Their validity is not affected one whit by the political views of economists or other people. And facts of reality do not mysteriously become untrue even if they are treated with contempt. . . .
Krugman, who hasnĂt done serious research for years, clearly doesnĂt care what his fellow economists think. He can, without the slightest evidence of embarrassment, pretend that an entire body of empirical research doesnĂt even exist. ThatĂs his choice. However, The New York Times bills him as a Nobel Laureate in economics. So when Hollywood types read Krugman, they think they are reading economics.
This is bad for the entire profession. Krugman rarely writes a column without including a venomous attack on those who disagree with him ¨ questioning their ethics, their honesty and their motives. But in economics, as in the other sciences, arguments ad hominem arenĂt legitimate arguments. . . .
As IĂve pointed out more than once, when it comes to health policy Krugman is almost always wrong. That by itself is not remarkable. Most health policy wonks
are also usually wrong in the way they think about health economics. But Krugman is the only person I know who canĂt resist insulting an entire political party or the 40% of the population that calls itself ˘conservative÷ or other scholars who disagree with him in the process of being wrong.
Once in a while I refer to him as Paul (if-you-disagree-with me-you-must-be-evil) Krugman. But on the whole, we usually pull our punches at this blog (as do most other bloggers). On balance, Krugman gets off lightly. He